At last the weather took a turn for the better. Although breezy, the sun was out and the ground firm. Worries that there were a few younger players out due to A levels was counter- balanced with the return from University of James Naldrett
and the Cripps Twins, although admitting that their fitness wasn’t up to scratch it still meant we had the full 20 for the game.
A must win game, not just for league position but also to regain some confidence for the upcoming Tier 4 cup game against Somerset Vikings next weekend.
Storm’s kick off down the slope was gathered deep in Eagles territory and some good penetrating runs saw them well into the opponents half when the game was stopped due to a head clash. Eagles Dom Stock
had to leave the pitch, not to return with what was later to be diagnosed as a fractured cheek bone. A major blow to the Eagles game plan. Play re-started and an early kick on the 4th was opted for.
Storm gathered and brought it out of their 10 with some strong penetrating runs, if Eagles confidence was running high it was soon dented when 5 mins into the game Storm no 8 Adam Tran proved too physical a force, pushing through the defence and crossed the line for the first score 0-4.
Eagles waning confidence was smashed when, due to some lack –lustre tackling and confusion in defence, Storms Adam Tran received a deft offload and breezed over the line for his second try in as many minutes.
Eagles now down 0-10 could not seem to settle into any rhythm, game plays were in dis-array and looking shaken couldn’t seem to keep the ball past the 3rd tackle. It seemed that they were spending 80% of the time defending. Things started improving, tackling was getting tighter, possession lasted longer but they couldn’t get a score despite a determined run by 11, Wesley Heath
, who forced his way over by the posts only to be held up by Storm solid defence, in fact Eagles crossed the line 2 more times, once more being held up and the other knocked on. It was over 30 mins into the game before Eagles got their first score when winger Joe Cripps
barrelled through the defence to touch down on the right hand side. 4-10. The score seemed to settle the team further and brought confidence back into the Eagles’ attack which was rewarded when Eagles captain Wesley Newton broke through the Storm defence on the left and touched down under the posts. Half Time 10-10
The second half started with Storm receiving deep in their 20. Again with deft offloads and making full use of their props they advanced into Eagles Half, a crunching tackle by opposite prop Doug Rodman
forced the knock on. A quick pass from the ensuing scrum to forward Olly Cripps
at full speed meant he could split the defence skirt the full-back and touch down between the posts. 16-10. A great lift for the home team.
What had originally been a frustrating watch for the home fans now became an intriguing game of rugby league between 2 evenly matched teams, good runs and excellent defence with trys coming thick and fast. Storm hit back within 5 mins when loose forward Peter Crook crashed over near the posts to level the scores again 16-16. Within another 5 mins replacement Jamie Williams
fought his way over the line to get the lead back at 20-16.
Storm were not going to let Eagles relax and came back with 2 swift tries within 10 mins , 1 created by some deft offloads by hooker Phil Berry to put winger Paul Wojciechowicz over and then score the second himself. 20-28
8 points down and 15 mins to go Eagles did not let their heads drop and were rewarded when Centre Rob Muat scoring out wide, as he had been threatening to do all game brought the score to within 4 points. 24-28
With less than 10 mins to go tension was rising when Eagles Rick Mee
spotted a gap in the Storm defence and cruised through under the posts to level things up, he added the 2 points from the kick.
With the score at 30-28 and 5 mins to go Eagles were hoping they could hold out and not have a repeat of the Sharks game when they lost out in the final play. They returned the ball from the restart and made Storm play out of their own 10, keeping them in there Storm got frustrated and conceded a penalty on their 10yd line, losing a player to the sin bin weakening their defence. Eagles no 15 Andrew O’Neill collected the ball and with a couple of Storm players hanging off him managed to stretch out an arm and seal the win 36-28.
1 Mike Errington,
2 charlie kelly
3 Rob Muat
4 Olly Cripps
5 Joe Cripps
6 ryan ellis
7 Rick Mee
8 Doug Rodman
9 Wesley Newton
10 Stu May
11 Wesley Heath
12 connor Ashwin
13 Dom Stock
14 James Naldrett
15 Andrew O’Neill
16 Tom Muat
17 Jack McLean
18 Piers de Haan
19 Jamie Williams
20 Taylor Lawrie
SCORERS: Joe Cripps
1 try, Wes Newton 1 try, Olly Cripps
1 try, Rob Muat 1 try,
1 try 4 conv, Andy O’neill 1 try.
Eagles MoM: Olly Cripps